In the wake of yesterday’s collapse of a house in Clinton Road, Penarth, questions are now being asked about just how thoroughly the Vale of Glamorgan Council is discharging its statutory duty of building inspection.
Last night, one of the homes next-door to the collapsed building had to be evacuated temporarily whilst unsafe parts of the structure were demolished.
Gas and electric supplies were turned off and a Health and Safety consultant attended the scene.
This morning only part of the front of the original 1920s house was left standing. Part of the rear of the building which had not already collapsed, was razed to the ground last night by a professional demolition team.
Workers were back on the site today, clearing the littered front garden of the premises and ensuring that any remaining loose or damaged parts of the structure were removed or made safe.
The Labour-controlled Vale Council – as the local authority – is required by law to have its qualified building control surveyors keep on eye on various key stages of stages of demolition and construction . The Vale says on its web site that legally no one can start demolition work unless the local authority has been notified and that certain requirements need to be met including :-
- Notifying adjoining owners and service providers
- Removing and disposing of asbestos
- Limiting the effects on adjoining properties
During construction the local auithority also has to be involved
- before pouring concrete foundations at the excavation stage;
- before covering up concrete foundations;
- before covering up damp proof courses;
- before covering up hardcore laid for the floor;
- before covering up new drains;
- at least five days after covering up new drains and roof timbers;
- at least five days before occupying the building/or when work is finished.
The Vale Council is also responsible for providing a “Completion Certificate” which certifies that the building work has been carried out and completed satisfactorily and in compliance with the approved plans.
It’s yet to be established just how closely council officers kept up to date on what was happening in Clinton Road . The application for the proposed extension/ basement had been opposed by a several neighbours and was opposed in Planning Committee by Conservative Vale councillors – but was voted through by Labour in a procedural mix-up .
Vale of Glamorgan Council planning officers had recommended there should be a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.
Last night and today veteran Vale Councillor Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) was on the scene gathering the views of concerned neighbours in Clinton Road and also chronicled on camera the partial demolition of the 1920s home.
Cllr Williams – who has a professional background in the construction industry – had criticised the original planning application when it first came before the council planning committee.
He agrees with a local resident who had told him she thought the “standard of what was happening on site was terrible“and that there had been a “stop-start approach” and ” lack of site supervision” .
Cllr Williams says “ I was very strongly against this application as were qualified neighbours, but this was voted through anyway. and I (and others) have watched this project with great misgivings – believing the safeguards were in place, which clearly they were not – or this would not have occurred.”